Edit Desk: Standing up for our rights

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Andrew Isaacson

Upon political discussion with my peers, I often hear people complaining about how politics are boring. I hear my friends often say something along the lines of, “there are no good candidates and I’m not informed enough to vote in the upcoming election.”

That common mindset could easily be the difference between one candidate taking office and the other one coping with a devastating election loss. Voting for elected officials in the United States is a privilege and right that many nations all over the world are desperate to have.

The 2016 presidential election was one of the most crucial presidential elections in modern times. However, millions of eligible voters did not cast a ballot because of their indifference and resentment towards both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Once the results were revealed, many individuals who didn’t vote began asking themselves, “What in the world were we thinking?”

As a 16-year-old junior in high school during the time of the election, I wasn’t legally old enough to vote and would have implored for that opportunity, had I known the future implications. In fact, it was gut wrenching walking around that day seeing people wearing “I Voted” stickers knowing that there was nothing I could do that would contribute to the election results.

The lack of voter turnout has lead to a current era of political tensions and stronger partisanship, one that has inspired more uproar and standing up for rights.   

Two years later in the 2018 midterm elections, I finally had my moment. When I went to the mailbox to mail in my absentee ballot for the House of Representatives and Senate, I felt proud to represent my country in a patriotic way and knew that this would turn into a reality. Millions of individuals throughout the world might never get the freedom and right to vote.

Although someone may not be old enough to vote, all it takes is one individual or group to start a movement, which can influence an entire community to follow their lead.

In 2017, I was galvanized by the movement in Washington D.C., seeing women from all over the country join forces to stand up for their rights. That powerful alliance was one I couldn’t back away from because of all the passion and dedication that was shown, which lead to me protesting in Morristown, New Jersey in January 2018.

That demonstration has motivated numerous social groups such as the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to fight for change regarding gun control. Their movement started in their local community but led to a world wide demonstration protesting gun violence after the horrific shooting that occurred there in February 2018.  

If high school students can start a worldwide demonstration for a crucial governmental dilemma, then so can any of us. It is another example in American’s history where it has taken the younger generation to advocate for change, something we saw during the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Throughout my first year at Lehigh, the campus wide movements have been dynamic, especially the one after the GO Campaign. It was the anger of the Lehigh student body that led the administration to delay the tear down of Trembley Park, which has served as an affordable option for student housing for years. The student leaders stepped up and told the school that having a place to live is more important to all students than making campus renovations.

If there is ever a policy that is ever unjust in your government or community, do not be afraid to show your courage and bravery. You never know whether your actions could become the next phenomenon. The recent election results have come down to the wire and your vote could decide the election.

To the younger generation, your actions can influential the millennial generation. Encourage those who are politically indifferent to form a closer community and nation.

Take full advantage of living in a democratic country.

Andrew Isaacson, ’22, is an assistant sports editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]

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1 Comment

  1. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    “Standing up for our rights” This thought is ubiquitous but has not accomplished much worthwhile because of disagreement as to which rights are valid. A more useful thought would be to stand up for your responsibilities. I foresee disagreements here also but there should be more of a tendency toward agreement.

    Both President Trump and his critics have the right to attack each other but both have the responsibility to act civilly out of respect for the office of President.

    Rights claimed have responsibilities implied. What responsibilities do we ignore with the rights we claim? Typically our minds want want to maximize our rights and minimize our responsibilities, do we fight this urge or continue to roll downhill?

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